"There is nothing finer than Nevsky prospekt, not in St. Petersburg at any rate, for in St. Petersburg it is everything … " wrote the great Russian author Nikolai Gogol more than 150 years ago. Today Nevsky prospekt may not be as resplendent as it was in the 1830s, when noblemen and ladies strolled along the elegant avenue or paraded by in horse-drawn carriages, but it's still the main thoroughfare, and remains the pulse of the city. Through the 18th century it was built up with estates and manors of the gentry, most of which still stand as testimony to the city's noble past. The next century saw a boom of mercantile growth that added sections farther south as centers for commerce, finance, and trade. Under the Communists, few new sites were planned on the prospekt. Instead, old structures found new uses, and the bulk of the Soviets' building was directed outside the City Center. Today, Nevsky is a retail center, complete with souvenir shops, clubs, neon lights, and young kids sporting some outrageous clothes.
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